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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics, 2nd Edition by Robert Donnelly

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The Field of Statistics Today

The science of statistics has evolved into two basic categories known as descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Because descriptive statistics is generally simpler, it can be thought of as the “minor league” of the field; whereas inferential statistics, being more challenging, can be considered the “major league” of the two.
def•i•ni•tion
The purpose of descriptive statistics is to summarize or display data so we can quickly obtain an overview. Inferential statistics allows us to make claims or conclusions about a population based on a sample of data from that population. A population represents all possible outcomes or measurements of interest. A sample is a subset of a population.
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